Great AT Video

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

<p><a href=”″>Shaggy’s 2012 AT Thru-Hike</a> from <a href=”″>Joe Gunn</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Categories: General, Hikes, Media, Photos

Quiet and Solitude on the Trail

January 7, 2012 1 comment



So today it was warm again. We are blessed with wonderful weather this winter and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get out an do some hiking, trail I have frequented before, which is also used as a mountain biking trail. Usually I might see another hiker, trailrunner or a few bikers… and today was no different. The weather was unbelievable , no breeze, low 50’s and just picture perfect. Even though this was the first hike of the year it felt great to be out and stretching the legs.
However on the way back as the sun shined on my back as it gently set in the west and my shadow became longer I got this weird feeling or sensation. Call me odd if you must but I got the feeling that I wasn’t alone. The last time I was on this trail I feel extremely alone, not sure if it was the weather, I recall a gloomy day. But I felt today as if my shadow as it or he got bigger then me as I continued on home was pushing me if you will. I also felt as though my shadow was all of the people that I don’t have anymore who used to push me and help me along all rolled into one. As that thought came into my head and heart I stopped and looked away from my shadow and looked towards to beautiful sunset over the lake and smiled. I felt all of those people today, weird? Maybe, but it felt good. To feel as though you are doing something you love and that you are not alone even when nobody is around for miles.
I hope my shadow and all of those people I have always needed who aren’t here with me anymore  stay with my shadow and follow me and push as I move forward.
Categories: Hikes

A New Year

January 1, 2012 1 comment

Happy New Year to all… I hope today finds you with a sense of optimism and hope for a great and prosperous as well as healthy new year. I am hopeful and excited about this year already. A couple days ago the the wife and I joined the new YMCA in town (beautiful facility). I am excited to get into the new pool and use the machiknes to get my legs and lower back in shape for some serious hiking and backpacking this year.

I am also lookinkg forward to taking Grace (our oldest – 6 yrs old) on some overnights and spend some time hiking, increasing our distance each time. Thanks to my buddy Jeff Haas for the inspiration and motivation on this topic!

Also looking forward to working with Jeff on the redesign and relaunch of in the coming months. And as usual making new friends along the AT as folks make their way this year and document their pilgrimage to complete the AT.

Good Luck to all!

Categories: General

Completing a Thru-Hike @ Backpacking Light

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Completing a Thru-Hike

What sets successful thru-hikers apart from the rest of the pack? Superfitnessawesomesauce? A trust fund? The best gear? The answer may surprise you.

Francis Tapon | 2011-09-13 00:00:00-06

Completing a Thru-Hike - 1

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail has a tendency to kick your butt. Most fail. I met many successful pilgrims on these trails, and I tried to look for a common thread. Here are some characteristics I thought they would share:

Wealth: I figured you probably need the financial wherewithal to support the multi-month journey.

Wrong: One guy (Cheapo) hiked from Georgia to New York on $20. His secret? Live off the freebies in hiker-boxes.

Good Gear: Those who travel with shoddy equipment are surely at a disadvantage.

Wrong: A man named Spider thru-hiked the AT with the same old, decrepit gear he’d had for 35 years.

Superior Nutrition: Poor nutrition would certainly catch up to you during the hike and hamper your ability to finish it.

Wrong: A few thru-hikers survived mainly on Snickers and other junk food.

Excellent Cardiovascular Conditioning: Thru-hiking is the ultimate endurance sport, so surely cardiovascular fitness is paramount.

Wrong: In Virginia I met George Ziegenfuss who blew that theory – he was in his sixties and hiked the AT with only one lung. He was huffing and puffing when he was sitting down, but he overcame that “inconvenience.”

Disease-Free: Your body should be healthy and free of debilitating diseases.

Wrong: Sticks and Stones, two ex-military men, thru-hiked together to raise money for Leukodystrophy, which Sticks battled. Although Leukodystrophy is a progressive disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, it did not stop Sticks from thru-hiking the AT.

Youth: I initially thought that being young and strong was a common denominator.

Wrong: I recalled the first female thru-hiker I met on the AT – she was in her sixties. Others have completed it in their seventies. In 2004, Lee “The Easy One” Barry became the oldest person to ever thru-hike the AT: he was 81. The fastest thru-hiker our year was Linsey, a man who biked from California to Georgia, hiked up to Maine in about 72 days, and then biked back to California. He averaged about 30 miles a day on the AT and never took a day off. He was 63.

Sight: OK, at the very least, you should be able to see the darn trail! Right?

Wrong: a blind man, Bill Irwin, hiked the whole trail with his trusty seeing-eye dog named Orient. It took him nine months (50% longer than average), and he fell hundreds of times, but he made it.

I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t seem to find a common denominator among all the successful thru-hikers. Yes, the majority were young, strong, ate healthy food, carried lightweight gear, and could actually see the trail, but there were so many exceptions. It wasn’t until I finished a thru-hike that I figured it out.

The only common thread that separated the successful thru-hikers from those who weren’t successful was their will. Those who complete a thru-hike in one season have an unbreakable will. They want to complete the trail so badly that nothing will stop them. Their rock-solid courage triumphs over the fear and adversity that confronts them throughout their arduous journey.

Therefore, if you’re planning to thru-hike, it certainly helps to follow the valuable tips at and lighten your load. However, don’t forget get to load up on the most important ingredient: the WILL.

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them. A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” — Muhammad Ali

Francis Tapon is the first person to yo-yo the Continental Divide Trail. He is the author of Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking. He donates half of his royalty to the CDTA, PCTA, and ATC. Donate any amount and download his 77-minute CDT Yo-Yo Video at

Categories: Gear, General, Hikes


August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

We set off for the Smokeys and the AT! Am very excited. However the wife did some research last night and saw the increased bear warning in the park due to the decreased berry population this summer and is a little shall we say “freaked out”.

Good News! We bought a new Kelty FC 2.0 Frame Kid Carrier , so the wife will carrier our youngest. This should increase our distance as a family out on the trails dramatically. Will give you a review next week.

The wife did mention this morning that “you know given all the bears, we shouldn’t put any food in my pack…” oh so we should put it all in mine? SILENCE 🙂 If I don’t upload pictures and stories next week, you’ll know that Yogi and Boo Boo ate good over Labor Day weekend.

Also purchased The North Face Venture Rain Jacket. Will let know how well it handles the rain and winds up onto of Clingmans Dome.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and that you spend it with friends, family and the great outdoors!

See you next week!

Latest and Greatest

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I love fall. I do, I enjoy the crunching of leaves under my feet, I am a nut about Halloween but this time of year is when I begin to read the posting of the few people I am following the trail and they begin their journey to Katahdin I become somewhat jealous. The sense of accomplishment and new found sense that a new more simpler life is upon them.

My deepest gratitude to ATBREE (, Zach Davis ( and Chris Miller ( for allowing me to follow along on their epic journeys this summer, it has been awesome to experience the hike along with you. Good luck as you push on into and through Maine.

So, on another note…. NEW GEAR! Thanks to my AMEX points I was able to secure a new Katadyn Filter System for free. Nothing better then free gear!
















I have also, created an AT Fund… Yes corny but maybe it will work. A jar big enough to hold some serious scratch. Hopefully this will help me get to where are want to go. Keep you posted on quickly it fills up.











And, finally good news! Talked the wife into going back to the Smokeys for Labor Day… Got hit the AT again!


Congrats Jennifer!

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Congrats to Jennifer Pharr Davis for completing what nobody has… the Appalachian Trail in an assisted hike in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. This adventure usually takes the average hiker six months to complete. Jennifer started in Maine and headed south, she finished yesterday after averaging 50 miles a day at Springer Mountain in Georgia to 50 people congratulating her! An inspiration to us all who hope to get on the mighty trail one day. Enjoy your rest and victory.

Categories: General, Hikes Tags: